I’ve had a whirlwind first month since joining Team Sona. It started with a trip to Canada to visit the head office in Halifax, Nova Scotia where I was able to meet the whole team and see the new labs taking shape (thanks to the considerable efforts of Chris and Mike!). I also got to spend a couple of full days with Darren and Anu getting to understand Sona’s products, partnerships and strategy. It’s undeniably exciting to join a company with such strong leadership and passion to succeed.
A 4am taxi to the airport on a Monday signaled the start of my first Sona assignment; MEDICA in Dusseldorf, Germany. Many of you reading this blog will be well aware of this yearly gathering. It is, without doubt, the world’s largest medical trade show, with more than 5000 exhibitors and more than 120,000 attendees bringing Dusseldorf to a virtual standstill. The size and scale of MEDICA is quite incredible; having been on a couple of occasions in the past I was partially prepared, but it always takes you by surprise.
The diagnostics sector is a big part of the event, and I spent three days speaking to as many of the participants as I could. Manufacturers and distributors of traditional lateral flow assays were present in force, as always, but one thing became clear to me very quickly; many of those companies are increasingly examining how to add value to their offerings via innovation. This is particularly exciting for Sona given that innovation is at the core of our company – we manufacture unique, high-quality gold nanomaterials that are perfect for multiplexing, and we already partner with a range of companies focused on improving lateral flow diagnostics via novel reader technologies and data management. I came away from MEDICA with dozens of interesting leads, and will be looking to develop these conversations into R&D partnerships, and eventually products, so watch this space!
Of course, another big part of events like this is meeting and getting to know your partners and collaborators a bit better. Fortunately for me, when not out walking the halls, I was able to locate myself on the Expedon booth in Hall 3, allowing me to strengthen relationships with their team and also meet up with the Mologic and Bond Digital Health teams, who were there in force. We shared many conversations and even a couple of beers at the Canadian pavilion.
MEDICA is a hugely important event for the medical sector and one that Sona will continue to attend. We will have a presence at the Canadian pavilion in 2019, but in the meantime please feel free to drop me, or any of Team Sona, a line if you want more information about our products and services or are interested in partnering with us.
Trevor Keel is Sona’s business development consultant (UK & EU)